Academics > Faculty

Psychology Faculty


Michael Baker
Professor of Psychology

Educational background:

B.A., Coe College
M.S., Ph.D., Iowa State University

Email: mbaker@coe.edu

Research and academic interests:

Research interests include consequences of prenatal and postnatal exposure to drugs of abuse such as cocaine and amphetamine, mechanisms of reward and addiction, and sex differences in responses to drugs of abuse. Academic interestsinclude Behavioral Neuroscience, Learning, Psychopharmacology, and Statistics

Classes taught at Coe:

Behavioral Neuroscience, Drugs & Behavior, Learning & Behavior, Introduction to Biopsychology, Statistical Methods & Data Analysis, Seminar in Psychology (previous topics: Addiction; Learning & Behavior Therapy), Advanced Experimental Psychology.

Special programs involved with at Coe:

Faculty Advisor: Psychology Club and Psi Chi, Coordinates trips to student research conferences

Personal interests:

Salsa dancing

Favorite Coe memory?  Favorite Coe Tradition?

I really enjoy taking students to research conferences so they have the opportunity to talk to people from outside of Coe about their research. I particularly enjoy encouraging them to actively engage others in conversation about their projects. They often start out a bit apprehensive, but I promise them they will enjoy the experience more if they come out of their shell and sell what they have to say. And of course, in the end, they always admit that it’s true.

Year you started teaching at Coe:

1999

Why have you chosen to teach at Coe?

I have been at both small colleges and large universities as a student and as a member of the faculty.  Small colleges like Coe provide a much more personal experience for students and faculty, alike. When I decided on an academic career, I hoped that I would be able to find a college and colleagues like those I had known as a student at Coe. Having the opportunity to be a member of the Coe College faculty is one of the best things to ever happen to me. Like the faculty who helped me along the way, my goal is to help students achieve their own success.


Wendy Dunn, Chair
James Y. Canfield Professor of Psychology

Educational background:

B.S., Iowa State University
M.S., Iowa State University
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Email: wdunn@coe.edu

Research and academic interests:

My research interests concern how people make decisions about others, especially in personnel selection situations. In particular, I am interested in how personality traits, such as conscientiousness and extraversion, are judged by others as being related to performance in jobs of different types. I also investigate how other characteristics, such as physical attractiveness and intelligence are evaluated and how they figure into decision processes. I am just beginning a second line of research looking at how adolescents versus young adults weigh difficult decisions, especially when these involve emotional issues.

I am also is the author (with Dr. Grace Craig, U of Mass at Amherst) of Understanding Human Development (soon to come out in 3rd edition from Prentice Hall), and Psychology: Concepts and Applications (with Charles Morris at U of Michigan and Albert Maisto at U of NC – Charlotte), also published by Prentice Hall, as well as an array of student study guides and instructors manuals that accompany various texts in the field of Psychology

Classes taught at Coe:

Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Testing & Measurement, Seminar in Psychology (previous topics: Personnel Selection; Leadership), Advanced Experimental Psychology.

Personal interests:

I enjoy writing, especially text books used by undergraduate students, as well as a wide array of student learning aids and instructors guides. At home, I am an avid gardener – although I admit I enjoy planting far more than weeding. My husband and I enjoy collecting, with their most interests centering on mid-20th century Navajo saddle blankets and on oil paintings by obscure late-18th century Barbizon artists. I value my volunteer service in the Cedar Rapids community, and have served on several local Boards of Directors, including serving as President of the Board of Directors of Brucemore, Inc. (a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation), President of the Metropolitan YMCA Board, and VP for Strategic Planning for United Way of East Central Iowa. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for Orchestra Iowa.

Favorite Coe memory?

Receiving a gift certificate to a local gardening center from Coe’s faculty for serving on an interim basis as the Dean of Faculty during a period of unexpected leadership transition at the College. Receiving a letter of thanks from a former Coe student who is now a Urologist, twenty years after his graduation, that included a copy of the letter of recommendation I wrote for him to medical school.

Favorite Coe Tradition?

Outdoor Commencement – which Coe started only about 17 years ago. So far, the weather has cooperated and we’ve not had to move indoors yet! The informal tone of the event – families can come with lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and cameras, and even young children and babies are truly welcome – is delightful. It’s a tradition worth keeping!  Commencement is such a wonderful day of celebration. It’s a great joy to see our students, who have matured so much in the previous four years, set off into the next stage in their lives, and to meet their family members and friends. Faculty have the best seats in the house, sitting on stage as they do, looking out at the happy faces of all the gown-clad graduates and their friends and family members. It’s a happy, happy day.

Year you started teaching at Coe:

I had the great good fortune to be able to teach a few classes at Coe while I was working on my first Ph.D. at Iowa, and actually taught my first class on Coe’s Campus, which was Social Psychology, during the Summer term of 1976.  I had the even more fortunate Great Luck when I was offered a full-time job teaching at Coe upon the completion of my doctoral degree in the Fall of 1980, and I’ve been on the faculty since that time.

Why have you chosen to teach at Coe?

That’s easy – it’s the students. I have stayed on the faculty at Coe because I find great personal satisfaction in the work I do with students. I’ve always enjoyed helping students explore their own interests and settle on a life direction. And, as I’m coming nearer to the end of my teaching career, I find that hearing from former students about the life and career paths they’ve chosen gives me a wonderful feeling of having been part of something meaningful. Being a college professor is a great career – I’d recommend it to anyone.

Sara K. Farrell
Associate Professor of Psychology, Organizational Science Administrative Coordinator

Educational background:

B.A., University of Iowa
M.A., Minnesota State University
Ph.D, Northern Illinois University

Email: sfarrell@coe.edu

Research and academic interests:

My research centers on co-worker reactions to employees who exhibit non-required, helpful behaviors in the workplace. In the past, I have focused on how the motives underlying an employee's organizational citizenship behavior impact co-worker fairness perceptions of rewards for such behavior. More recently, my students and I have been investigating co-worker responses to employee pro-social rule breaking behaviors.

I enjoy working with students on research projects that have clear applications in everyday life. It is most satisfying when students are highly engaged and especially when they risk offering challenges to our hypotheses or research designs.

Classes taught at Coe:

Introductory Psychology; Research Methods; Developmental Psychology; Gender Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology; Seminar in Psychology (Gender in the Workplace); Advanced Experimental Psychology.

Personal interests:

Outside of class, I enjoy traveling and spending time outdoors. I have had a blast hostelling across Ireland and several other European countries - and can't wait for the next trip! Road tripping within the U.S. can be pretty exciting, too, especially when it's to a region that's new to me. During the summer, I enjoy hiking, camping, and gardening.

Favorite Coe memory?  Favorite Coe Tradition?

My favorite Coe tradition is the walk that the students take as they begin their journey at Coe and again at graduation. During orientation week, students pass by the faculty on their way into the commencement ceremony. Our applause is our way of welcoming to the new students to our campus. Years later, as the students walk to their seats at graduation, they again pass by the faculty. This time our applause represents our recognition of their hard work and congratulations on this important accomplishment. I love to see the excitement and pride on the faces both of the students and of the other faculty during each of these events.

Year you started teaching at Coe:

2006

Why have you chosen to teach at Coe?

Because teaching at Coe offers me so many opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with others (definitely including students) and allows me to continue learning. Every time I teach a class, I learn more about the course topic and more about other topics that somehow intersect with the class topic. Often times, this learning comes from the interactions I have with students in the classroom. As a professor at Coe, I love that I feel so supported in continuing to learn, which in turn, helps me to be a better teacher. I enjoy being able to provide my students with a liberal arts experience and to be exposed to that experience myself, every day.

Daniel A. Lehn
Professor of Psychology

Educational background:

B.S., University of Connecticut
Ph.D., Dartmouth College

Email: dlehn@coe.edu

Research and academic interests:

With my students, as well as with an outside collaborator, I have been investigating individual differences in the way people attend to and process information that is personally relevant to them, both at conscious and non-conscious levels.

Classes taught at Coe:

Introductory Psychology, Statistical Methods & Data Analysis, Social Psychology, Personality, Origins of Contemporary Psychology, Seminar in Psychology (previous topics: Positive Psychology, Intimate Relationships; Emotion), Advanced Experimental Psychology.

Personal interests:

Cycling; reading about Lincoln; Pop/Folk music; game nights with my wife and adult children; impromptu dinners with close friends who live next door

Favorite Coe memory?  Favorite Coe Tradition?

One of the first students I ever taught in Introductory Psychology – a women who has the dubious distinction of taking more classes from me that any other student – went on to graduate school (as many of our students do). As she completed her doctorate and was about to embark on a faculty position at a university – where she is doing a phenomenal job! – she came back to Coe to give a series of talks to our majors as well as long-time alums. Thinking back to the days when she was a firstyear student ‘just taking classes’, it was wonderfully gratifying to interact with her as a professional peer and colleague.

Year you started teaching at Coe:

1993

Why have you chosen to teach at Coe?

When I came same to interview at Coe, people made me feel like I was already a member of the community even before I was offered the job. I was overwhelmed by the warmth and personableness of everyone on campus: students, staff, and faculty alike.  It was that sense of family that 'sucked me in'. When I arrived on campus fulltime, I had a sense that I knew everyone on campus after on a couple of months. It's not that people are just 'nice', but that they all are collaboratively supportive of the learning mission that we have here.  We want the best for each other – especially our students.

Thomas B. Moye
Professor of Psychology

Educational background:

B.A., University of California-Riverside
M.A., Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder

Email: tmoye@coe.edu

Research and academic interests:

Trained in the areas of experimental psychology and behavioral neuroscience. Research focuses on perceptual factors that influence our visual judgments of causality. In particular, how Pavlovian conditioning processes influence our judgments about cause and effect.

Classes taught at Coe:

Biopsychology, Research Methods in Psychology, Introductory Psychology Seminar in Psychology: ), Advanced Experimental Psychology. In addition, he occasionally teaches in the areas of Psychopharmacology and Developmental Psychology..

Personal interests:

Astronomy, History of Science, Cooking

Favorite Coe memory?  Favorite Coe Tradition?

My favorite Coe memory also involves my favorite Coe tradition. I remember clearly the Psychology Department’s first Research Symposium back in 1990. We had maybe 8 students give oral presentations of their research projects to members of the Coe community. Since this first event, the Annual Psychology Research Symposium has grown to become one of the highlights of many of our student’s academic careers at Coe.

Year you started teaching at Coe:

1989

Why have you chosen to teach at Coe?

I left a position at a large state university in Northern California to come to Coe in 1989. This was perhaps the best decision I have ever made. I didn’t enjoy the large scale, impersonal approach to education that was part of the university experience, so when I was offered a position at Coe, I jumped at it!

Kara Recker
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology

Educational background:

B.S., Arizona State University
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Benjamin Tallman
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Educational background:

B.A., Coe College
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Email: btallman@coe.edu

Nükhet Yarbrough
Stead Family Professor of Psychology

Educational background:

B.A., Lindenwood College
M.A., Boğazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
Ph.D., University of Georgia

Email: nyarbrou@coe.edu

Research and academic interests:

I came to graduate school in the United States to study with Dr. Paul Torrance, internationally known for his research and tests on creative thinking. My research at Coe focused primarily on the investigations of how creative thinking test scores relate to other psychological and practical human characteristics. Over the years I looked at short term memory capacity and long term memory access as measured on computer tasks to millisecond accuracy in high and low scorers on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. In addition, I developed an instrument to measure tolerance for ambiguity in high and low scorers of creative thinking. This line of research yielded a number of conference papers with our students. I even took one of our students to a World Conference on creativity in Istanbul, my native city. Currently I am engaged in an international norming study for the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking that I am hoping will interest some of my students who like to travel.

Classes taught at Coe:

Memory & Cognition, Memory & Cognition Laboratory, Counseling Psychology, Introductory Psychology, Seminar in Psychology (previous topics: Creativity; Cross-Cultural Psychology), Advanced Experimental Psychology. Occasional courses on Turkey.

Special programs involved with at Coe:

I chair the Institutional Review Board.

Personal interests:

I love to cook! I sometimes read cookbooks for pleasure. Travelling, finding secluded bays to go swimming in Western Turkey, hiking, and kayaking are also my favorites.

Favorite Coe memory?  Favorite Coe Tradition?

Every Spring I look forward to our Psychology Research Symposium where our students present their research and then join us for a dinner in one of our homes. It is a wonderful celebration of their hard work. It’s my favorite tradition. A favorite memory is when we held a reception at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference one year, and a number of our alumni, some of whom were faculty members or graduate students, showed up. Having our current and former students in one place was such a treat!

Year you started teaching at Coe:

1985

Why have you chosen to teach at Coe?

I am the product of a liberal arts institution, and value the close student-faculty collaboration and the growth that comes from it. Although I wanted to teach at a liberal arts college, I did not know when I took this position that I would like Coe so much that I would want to stay here till I retire.  We have students and faculty from all over the world making this a very stimulating and interesting place, but most importantly, I found Coe to be a very supportive place where we can all learn together.